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[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ] FREEMAN : Galloway's acerbic tongue seared hides George Galloway arrives to address the Stop the War group in London on Tuesday. He is strenuously denying allegations put forward by The Daily Telegraph that he accepted $595,612 a year from Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath party regime. Picture: Peter Macdiarmid/Reuters Thursday May 1st 2003 RYANAIR exploits over-the-top spin of 'Comical Ali' in its headline-grabbing price war with EasyJet. But worse taste is displayed by the Daily Telegraph's efforts to blacken George Galloway, the articulate Glaswegian MP whose family hails from Donegal. Galloway is a fearless advocate of favourite causes. His passions include Glasgow Celtic, trade unions and immigrant grievances. Many MPs have Irish links, though few are as passionate about Irish causes or enjoy themselves as obviously when they visit. Over the years Galloway's sharp tongue has seared thin hides. You find yourself laughing and nodding even when you disagree. Communication skills are as valuable in politics as business. His call for troops to refuse illegal orders provoked fury, though Australian airmen did refuse to strike civilian targets. Predictably, the Telegraph focused on links between Galloway and Saddam's regime. They didn't investigate suppressed subjects of the Scott Tribunal, on the show-trials of Matrix Churchill executives for selling arms to Iraq, including the farcical 'super-gun' during the 1980s Iranian war. In fact, Matrix Churchill executives did sell prohibited equipment - as did other companies - but with the connivance of British security! This cynicism was echoed in 1999 when London scapegoated British company Sandline for breaching UN sanctions on Sierra Leone. The prosecution was stillborn when a City law firm produced daily correspondence with the Foreign Office regarding their illegal activities, as well as pictures of the mercenaries' helicopter being refuelled and rearmed on a navy frigate in Freetown harbour! Nor did the Daily Telegraph apparently investigate illegal surcharges paid by intermediaries in connection with the purchase of Iraqi oil under the UN oil-for-food problem by leading British and US companies. Until recently it was standard practice to pay 25-30 cents per barrel - outside UN rules - as a 'luck penny', which the Iraqis used to fund local expenses, including security. This was widely known, and complained about by British diplomats, including Sir Ivor Roberts, the departing British Ambassador here. Instead of focusing on the big bucks and real scandal, the Telegraph preferred to pursue their vendetta against leftist Galloway. Galloway is passionately committed to his constituents and causes. He looks you in the eye and challenges assumptions. His vigour forces you to rethink your stance from first principles. Sometimes this reinforces your view, as with restrictive work practices. When you accept his points, he tactfully acts as if it were only a misunderstanding. Galloway invested time and emotional energy against war and sanctions inflicting indiscriminate suffering on civilians, especially the most vulnerable. This contrasts with the approach of 'cash-for-questions' parliamentarians. The difference is as great as that between Michael D Higgins and Michael Lowry: a gulf between passionate, if eccentric, intensity and smooth professional lobbying. Galloway appears utterly sincere in a disturbingly certain way. He's a battler, but he's no gun for hire. Leftists are as interested in profit as anybody else. I don't know if Galloway profited from such trade. There's so much self-interested spin that only courts can disentangle the truth. If he did benefit, he differed little from many of the world's leading oil traders and refiners who, directly or not, profited much more. Inconsistencies on dates, references to a wife when he was unmarried, and doubtful provenance of the conveniently discovered file raise suspicions. The allegedly incriminating paragraph, though written in Arabic, reads like western rather than Arab logic. It may be an elaborate hoax like the 'Zinoviev letter', published by the Daily Mail, which scuppered Britain's first Labour government. Ironically, 'Gorgeous George' thinks and acts like an entrepreneur - though the title grates. Long a thorn in the side of New Labour, the unashamed Marxist's alleged business flair is now used to attack him. The Telegraph's smear may damage him and, by illogical extension, anti-war and humanitarian dissidents generally. This is as unfortunate as it is convenient for the war party, which has yet to substantiate its lurid claims. Civilian sanctions were immoral in conception and practice: they sullied what they touched. The British and other powers inflicted civilian suffering for political and, sometimes, commercial reasons. They denied these effects, tried to blame victims and even, like former US Secretary of State and Holocaust survivor, Madeleine Albright, claimed that 5,000 child deaths monthly were "an acceptable price to pay". For 12 years they justified sanctions by arguing that they "worked". Then last year, having decided on war, they argued the opposite: that sanctions were not working. Now that Iraq is conquered, the Americans want to lift sanctions, though there is still no proof that Iraq is disarmed or, indeed, that it had prohibited weapons during the last decade. Rightists have no monopoly on hypocrisy: many who formerly demanded sanctions be lifted are now wary that this humanitarian move would legalise piracy. There is plenty of duplicity and corruption in evidence, but little of it surrounds anti-war agitators. The real traitors are the Asses of Evil who misled parliament and electors. We need Galloway's voice. Send your feedback to email@example.com © Irish Independenthttp://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/ & http://www.unison.ie/ _______________________________________________ Join Excite! - http://www.excite.com The most personalized portal on the Web! _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk